How is bone graft done? | Dental Treatment Guide

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that is performed to increase the success of a dental implant; the theory behind this being that the graft will increase the amount of bone in the jaw for the implant's insertion. In general, the jawbone's quantity and quality is a direct insight into how well the bone has regenerated after the removal or loss of a tooth. If there is not a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, then dental implants are not suitable unless a bone graft is done as well to rebuild and regenerate the jawbone.

Before the Procedure

Although it may sound rather daunting, the bone grafting surgery is actually rather simple and straightforward. It is only performed if your dentist has deemed it truly necessary and believes it is required to ensure your dental implant is a success. Once decided that you should undergo a bone graft, you will then have the opportunity to discuss the various types with your dentist to determine which suits you best.

The materials that are often used in bone grafts are your own bone (usually taken from the hip or chin), bovine (or cow) bone, cadaver bone, and specialised synthetic glass. However, despite there being such a range of options, the most preferred material by most is the patient's own bone.

The Procedure

Once you and your dentist have agreed on a material, you will be booked in for the actual bone graft procedure. During the surgery, your dentist will make a small incision in your gum at the location, which requires the bone graft. This incision will result in a small flap of skin. The jawbone is now exposed and your dentist can then insert the bone graft. This is then covered with a protective membrane; usually made from human skin, cow skin or a synthetic material, which acts as a barrier from bacteria and infections as well as keeping the area free from dirt so it can heal optimally.

The flap of skin previously mentioned is then repositioned over the area of the bone graft. Your dentist will then carefully stitch the gum back into its previous place.

After the Procedure

The amount of time it takes for a bone graft to heal depends on the individual, but usually it takes approximately four months. For the first few days of this healing time, you will be required to take a full course of antibiotics to ward off any infection. You may also be administered a special antibiotic mouthwash to keep the gum healthy.

How successful you bone graft has been can be determined by an x-ray. Your dentist may take one to analyse the size dimensions of the new bone. If your dentist approves of the progress and your gums have completely healed, you can then be approved to undergo the next step of your dental implant process.

Further Information about Bone Grafting in Dental Treatment